In January I was lucky enough to participate in a project review session for General Assembly a programmer bootcamp here in Austin, TX. I was one of three professional software devs brought in to provide feedback on the students’ projects. The feedback can be on anything, from how they approached the UX, their data models, how they used git… anything.

During each presentation each team had a set of topics that they had to talk about, one of them being “rose, bud, thorn” or “what was great about this project/experience”, “what will you take on to your next project(s)”, and “what sucked”.

One team of students began a demo of their search filters for a recipe site they had built. It had a great amazon-esque checkbox filter system where you could pick recipe ingredients to filter the list of recipes on the site. It worked really well.

For their “what sucked” part, one of the team members brought up the code for the checkbox filtering and showed how it worked. There was a collection of around twenty if statements that controlled what happened when one of the recipe filters was chosen.

Basically it looked something like this, just 20x as much:

$('checkbox1').on('change', function() {
if ($(this).is(':checked')) {
$('form #hidden1').val($(this).val());
} else {
$('form #hidden1').val('');

So for each checkbox there was a matching hidden field in a form so the selected search filters could be sent to the server and the search could be carried out. A truly righteous hack, if I may say so.

When the rest of the reviewers and I saw this we kinda chuckled a bit - which to be honest, probably wasn’t the best response - but I explained that we were all chuckling because hacks are a common thing in software development and we’d all done hacks like that (or in worse) to make something work to meet a deadline. It’s a fact of life. And it’s a friggin’ important one too.

We should create hacks more often. Don’t kill yourself for 2-3 hours to try to find the best/most correct way to do something immediately. If you meet resistance, do the simplest thing that could possibly work - make a hack - and move on. Come back to it - or even better get someone to pair or code review what you’ve done - and refactor it when you know the better way to do it. Bad code is… well, yeah, bad… but it’s also super important since it helps us grow and become better.

You won’t forget your hacks easily. They’ll stay with you for a while; they will keep you up at night. In fact, one night, you’ll probably refactor them into as few lines of code as possible.

And one day you’ll come back to those hacks, years from now and chuckle too.

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I decided to start 2016 off a bit differently. Normally I’d write a recap post for 2015 listing all the things I didn’t do, and how I was going to finally do them this year. Because this year is totally different than all the others before it.

Right. So, new year, new way of doing things. First, the blog. It hasn’t gotten any love in pretty much a year, so I’m here kicking the dust off of it, fighting away all of the spiders and rodents that have nested in the past 12 months. New platform, it’s running on hexo a static site generator that runs on node.

Why Node? Well, I got tired of dealing with the hassle of my jekyll powered blog, sure it ran, but everytime I wanted to go back to it I had to remember to install ruby, python, jekyll, pygments and I hadn’t used any of those in a super long time. So just getting my blog viewable on my laptop was a nightmare, never mind trying to get it to run on my desktop (which is windows based). Forget it.

As part of the transition, I decided to not port a lot of my older posts. This is mostly just because I’m too lazy to grind through the changes necessary to get the posts to work with the new blog platform. I moved over 2 of my most popular posts, if you’re looking for other posts, check out the git repo.

If you’re suuuuper interested in having me move a post over for whatever reason then open an issue on github and I’ll do it.

So, new blog. What else?

Well we’re going to go back to this whole living healthy thing. It worked well in 2012 when I was on my way to getting married - I was at an all-time low of 235lbs. I’d like to get down there again. I’ve spent the last 2 years hovering around 270-280 and it’s not enjoyable. It’s that awkward part of being a big person where your lower half of your body is still holding out hope that the top half will go back to being thinner. It is awful and frustrating and I pretty much hate myself everyday.

More Writing. Yep. Twitter - and my own self-doubt - have ruined my writing ability. It’s time to get back into this and churn some stuff out that I can be happy with, and maybe (hopefully) write some stuff that other people find valuable too.

New year, new sheriff in town. Time will tell how well the new rule goes.

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Jared Barboza

dev @Hudl. I like javascript, cats and video games. I’m an adult, opinions here are mine.

Software Developer, npm installer

Austin, Texas